Once in awhile, we stumble across people that completely restores our faith in humanity. Such is the case when we heard Peter Mutabazi’s story. Peter, who grew up amongst hardship, was rescued and given a new lease of life when he was just a boy of 15 years old. Now, he is thankful for the kindness he was given and decided it was his turn to do the same.
Peter figured that the best way to pay that love forward was to open his home to foster kids in need and provide them a safe and loving place to grow. To do this, he needed to first completely remodel and prepare his home for his future foster children, whoever they may be. When Peter first started this project however, he really had no idea how far his journey would take him and whose life he was about to drastically change.
A Painful Past
The reason Peter is so eager to give back has a lot to do with his past. As a young boy, he grew up in an abusive home in one of the poorest areas in Uganda. He was often left to starve, unaware of when he would have his next meal. For years he felt alone and unloved. “I grew up where no one told me to dream, that there was no future for me,” Peter recalled in an interview with Good Morning America.
Thankfully that all changed when Peter was 15. He was rescued from a life on the streets and his new family provided him with an education and a safe place to grow. In telling this story on his Instagram page he writes “Because of that beautiful kindness, I can thankfully say I’m alive and well.”
Peter’s Support System
After Peter made it out of his abusive home, he eventually made his way to the U.S. He introduces the woman pictured here as his American Mom. It is in part thanks to her that he now encourages himself to open his doors to others. He is confident that he will fill his home with the same love that she did for him.
Peter has only warm things to say about his American mom. On his Instagram, he wrote “This woman has been there for me in more ways than I count. When I come around, she always has a home-cooked meal and a warm bed for me. She’s been my listening ear through my highs & lows & much, much more.”
Thankful for Where He Is Today
Today, Peter lives a happy life and has found success in running his own construction company. This is why he feels so well equipped to build the perfect home for kids in need. Once he began applying to be a foster parent, Peter immediately began plans to remodel his entire house.
He not only added an entire new bedroom but also built a Jack and Jill bathroom just for the children that the foster program would match with him. Peter feels so thankful for those who helped him that he is doing all he can to return the kindness and “repay the love.”
Soon To Be Foster Dad
In the weeks leading up to becoming a foster dad, Peter kept himself busy with the remodel of his home and the endless paperwork needed to be done before he could be matched with foster children. Despite this, Peter wrote that he was “loving every step of their training.”
As he works his way through his endless to-do list, Peter’s house still appears to be more of a construction site than a home. Despite this, he remains hopeful and excited that soon he would be swapping “the lumber-carrying workers pacing in & out of the house for a couple of fun children, running in with their toys and laughter from a warm afternoon in the yard.”
Get by With a Little Help From My Friends
Luckily, Peter has been surrounded by the love and support of his friends and coworkers throughout the whole preparation process. Here you can see just how many amazing and caring individuals worked long hours alongside Peter in order to bring his foster father dreams come true.
On his Instagram account, Peter writes, “I’m grateful for their kindness, they’re putting up with my pickiness and the smiles that are always on their faces when I show up.” As the house quickly starts to become a home, Peter can not wait to start welcoming in foster kids in need. Little does he know, opening his doors to them is really just the start of his story.
A Brand New Porch
Peter’s home renovation did not only include adding rooms and redoing the interior, but he also made some changes to the exterior of the house as well. In order to create one of the new bedrooms, Peter and his crew had to section off part of the large living room, where the old entrance to the house once was. Seizing the opportunity, Peter decided to build a large porch there instead.
Peter hoped this would one-day become a great place for summer afternoons with the kids. “It’ll be another place for the kids to have fun, it’ll be easier to get to know our neighbors, and the old porch will be the perfect place for a nice porch swing,” he wrote when first embarking on the project. As you can see, it turned out great!
The Beautiful Kitchen
Take a look at how beautiful Peter’s new kitchen turned out! This is proof that hard work always pays off. We can’t help but admire those stunning splash tiles. However, reconstructing the kitchen and the rest of the house is not the only thing that Peter did to prepare himself for becoming a foster father.
He also took cooking lessons from some Mom friends so that he would be able to spend time in the kitchen with the kids. In fact, this is one thing that Peter mentioned looking forward to the most. “Whether it’s spent sharing a meal or burning the bacon, I know it’ll be memorable & I know we’ll spend it as a family,” Peter said when revealing the reconstructed kitchen.
Gender Neutral Bedrooms
After all his hard work, the house is finally ready for Peter to welcome in the foster kids that he has been matched with and he had two brand new bedrooms build in his home. By that time, he had already received the news that one of the kids temporarily staying with him would be a young boy.
He made sure to design them both gender neutral so that no matter who arrived to live there would love the space they are living in. Peter had a lot of fun setting the rooms up for the kids. By the time the rooms were finished, he was only nine days away from welcoming them to his home.
Jack & Jill Bathroom
When renovating the home, Peter also completely redid the master bathroom to create this stunning Jack and Jill design. Peter and his crew did everything with their own two hands, from reflooring to installing the light fixtures.
When revealing the final results, Peter wrote, “I’m looking forward to many long showers in here after days of running around with the foster kids. It’s great to see that all of the hard work is really paying off and with just a few days to spare before the kiddos arrive.”
A Living Room Fit for a Family
After four months of preparations, the house looked picture perfect just in time for the kid’s arrival. Pretty soon Peter would be able to call himself a foster father and he will start using this room to watch movies, hang out and play with all the kids that need it most.
Most of all, Peter planned to fill this room, and all others in the house with unconditional love. Just like the family that saved him all those years back did for him. It’s moments like these that make Peter appreciate just how far he has come. Now all he had to do was wait for the kids to arrive.
Just days before Peter was scheduled to begin opening his home to foster kids in need, the soon to be foster-father realized he was missing something super important. Car seats! According to the social worker, Peter was required to have two prepared before the children began to arrive.
Luckily, Peter had his friends to help him quickly find the perfect seats that would fit all the safety requirements. The seats arrived three days before Peter’s first foster kid was set to arrive. Good thing Peter seems to be a pro at working on the fly. Nothing seems to stress this guy out.
Just The Beginning of His Journey
And just like that, Peter had officially become a foster father. As soon as he opened the doors to his new home, two beautiful and loving children entered Peter’s life within just a few weeks of each other. He first welcomed an 11-year-old boy and soon after a five-year-old boy also joined their home.
In his words, “Nothing can prepare you for this.” Peter instantly loved every single moment of being a father. “The house has felt like an amusement park being operated by only me, the single employee. So worth it though, because, for me, it’s already been an emotional high, some great fun, and a huge learning experience,” he wrote.
Bringing Families Together
A month after he entered Peter’s home, the five-year-old foster child staying with him left to live with his relatives. Although it was tough for Peter to say goodbye, as he put it, “Things are never sad for long in this house.” Soon a new placement arrived and this time it was the four-year-old brother to the 11-year-old who was already staying with Peter.
What a special reunion that Peter had the opportunity to facilitate. He was quickly learning that being a foster father was not only full of challenges but also full of meaningful moments like these. “What a blessing it has been to bring two brothers together under the same roof again! It’s been sheer joy hear them giggle as they do everything together,” Peter wrote on his Instagram page.
Typical Dad Duties
Peter was an absolute natural at being a foster father. He immediately took on the role with full enthusiasm and left no time to waste when it came to nurturing the growth of his foster kids. He even taught this little guy how to ride his bike without training wheels.
“He’s already acting like he just got his first set of car keys and my eyes are glued on him as he wrecks more than ever.” Based on his social media feed, Peter was already sounding like a typical father. These kids were lucky to have Peter there to teach them all kinds of new skills and keep them safe, even if they were not staying for long.
Saying Goodbye to His Family of Three
Six months after Peter welcomed his first foster child, both brothers were cleared to go back to their families and Peter had to say goodbye. But not before he fell in love with them both as they naturally became a part of his everyday life.
In a heartfelt Instagram post, Peter wrote “These two boys taught me a lot about life and they gave me a great sense of purpose. I’m truly humbled to have had the opportunity to share my life with them for the past 6 months and I’m also grateful to see their parents work so hard to get their little ones back, I just hate to see them leave. I’m feeling a little bit of everything right now, but I can sum it up with two words: bittersweet love.”
The Start of Something Beautiful
Just one month after saying goodbye to his family of three, Peter was offered the opportunity to welcome 11-year-old Anthony into his loving home. Anthony, or Tony for short, had been part of the foster system since he was only two years old and had been adopted at the age of four.
Unfortunately, his adopted parents, without any known reason had left Anthony at a hospital when he was 11 and never came back for him. This was when he was brought to stay with Peter. At first, he was only meant to stay there for two days, but that all changed after Peter heard Tony’s story.
What Started as Two Days
“I was crying.” Peter said in an interview with Good Morning America, “I thought, ‘Who would do that?'” he recalled asking himself after hearing Anthony’s story of being abandoned by his adopted parents. “Once I knew the parents’ rights were signed off and he had nowhere to go, I [knew] I had to take him.”
And that was the beginning of Peter and Anthony’s inseparable bond. This would be the beginning of an adventure that neither one of them could have predicted. Once Peter realized that he would be staying with him long term, he did everything he could to make him feel welcome and loved.
Becoming a Family
In no time, Anthony had become fully immersed in Peter’s life and the pair instantly became a family. As soon as it was decided that Tony would be staying with him long term, Peter immediately enrolled him in school mid-semester. “He’s the nicest, smartest kid I’ve ever had,” Peter gushed about his new foster son in an interview with Good Morning America.
“From day one, he’s always called me ‘dad.’ He truly meant it and he looks up to me. He’s proud to show me at school and say, ‘Hey, he’s my dad.’ That’s something that I love about him,” Peter said. But this did not mean Peter did not have more love to give. Throughout his time providing a home for Anthony, Peter continued to welcome other foster children into his home.
Learning New Skills
“This is an entirely new kind of curl for me! Dad of many talents!” Peter captioned as he shared this photo of himself giving Tony a haircut. It looks like he had to learn a lot of unexpected fatherly duties as time went by. Good for him for keeping his ‘do it yourself’ attitude through and through!
In a separate post, a few months earlier, Peter also shared what it was like to arrive at the barbershop with not just Tony, but two other foster children that were staying with him at the time. In the post, he wrote, “It’s hard to take three boys for a haircut. Hopefully, they won’t lock the door when they see us coming next…” It seems fatherhood is full of fun lessons.
Something Was Still Missing
After becoming a foster father, one of the things that Peter learned to love more than anything else was the joy of receiving a hug from his foster kids. To him, this simple gesture signified a step of faith and trust that Peter did not take lightly. “Never take the blessing of love and affection from your children for granted,” he wrote in a post dedicated to this particular hug from his foster son.
Peter and Anthony were becoming closer and closer by the days and months that passed. However, according to the system, Peter was still considered a foster father and not his permanent guardian. But they were both ready to change that and make their father-son relationship more official. Bring on the paperwork!
Watching Tony Grow
On May 9th, 2019, one year and four months after Anthony entered Peter’s life, the two celebrated together as Tony turned 13, making his way into his teenage years. “You truly have astonished me with your resilience, always positive, not letting the past define you, always hoping for a better future and embracing the good and the bad along the way.” Peter wrote in a birthday post for his son.
“Truly Blessed and thrilled to call you my son. I will always be here for you in good and bad times, in the unknown and known, In hopeless and hopeful times,” he continued. What a beautiful sentiment. In just a few months, Peter and Tony would have yet another celebration together and they could both hardly wait.
After months of anticipation, on November 12, 2009, Tony’s adoption day had finally arrived. By that point, he had been living with Peter for almost two years. Despite his past hardships, he was ready to embrace Peter’s love with open arms and together they formed a bond stronger than neither have ever experienced before.
“I was chosen, I was wanted, I was cherished, I grew in his heart, I was the missing piece and I’m loved today despite my shortcoming,” Peter wrote in an emotional adoption day post. Peter had officially gone from foster father to a legal father and he could not be more overjoyed.
A Very Special Judge
To make their day even more special, the judge that presided over this monumental adoption was not just any judge. She was the same one that presided over Tony’s first adoption so many years earlier. As you can imagine, she was more than happy to see him finally in good hands.
Although Anthony is left without answers from his birth parents or his first adopted parents, he can now feel confident that he will forever be loved and cared for by his new father. We are confident that Peter will stop at nothing to protect, nurture and help him grow.
An Emotional Day
Tony’s foster care worker, Jessica Ward was another person who experienced great relief after Tony’s official adoption; “Peter’s story all around is beautiful and amazing. Because of the age Peter was when all of the things happened in his world, I feel like that’s been such a connection for him and Tony.”
The adoption took place in a courthouse in Charlotte, North Carolina. The, now official, father and son duo were surrounded by friends and family who were happy to witness Tony take the Mutabazi name.
It Takes a Village
“It truly ‘takes a village to raise a child’, not sure I would have done this the last two years without my Village people,” Peter wrote in an Instagram post a couple of months following the adoption. Clearly that life-changing day was still resonating for him as it most likely always will be.
He continued in his post saying, “Thank you for being there for us when we needed you the most, thank you for not letting me give up countless time and above all, thank you for accepting us with all our baggage.” No on said foster parenting was easy but with the right support system, and the unlimited levels of love and kindness like those that Peter surrounds himself with, anything is possible.
Becoming a Citizen
Soon after Tony’s adoption, the brand new family of two had another emotional day ahead of them. On November 23, 2019, Peter finally became an American Citizen. “A dad and U.S citizen in just two weeks can’t describe in words the joy in my heart and house after a long long journey,” He wrote on his Instagram page.
Mutabazi, who grew up in Uganda came to the United States in order to pursue a better life for himself. Since achieving this he has spent most of his time trying to help others do the same. Now, years later, he can proudly call himself an American citizen.
Always Giving Back
In addition to becoming a foster father and eventually becoming a legal dad for Tony, Peter also gives back in many other ways. For one, he works with the nonprofit organization World Vision United States. Through his role at World Vision, Peter does what he can to assist kids living in vulnerable areas around the world.
Before becoming a foster father, Peter visited Rwanda to reach out to kids in need. He posted this photo to his Instagram saying, “These are all kids I met from a poor village in Rwanda. Each of them was sponsored by a different person whom they’d never met. Because of their sponsors’ unsolicited kindness, these children have food, water, hope, an education & best of all: a daily reminder of the beautiful light that pierces through any darkness.”
Families Don’t Have To Match
What a beautiful sentiment. Although these two come from completely different backgrounds and might look very different, this does not make them any less family. It just goes to show what priceless bonds can be made when biases and assumptions are set aside.
These two are so blessed to have each other. We can all agree that the world needs more people like Peter who is always ready and eager to bring unconditional kindness to the world. Now we are only wondering where we can get our hands on one of these cool shirts!
Remember those cooking lessons that Peter took before he began welcoming in foster children? Well, either the student has become the teacher or Tony is the one teaching Peter the ropes in this photo. Either way, it looks like Peter’s dream of spending quality time in the kitchen with his family have come true.
Peter has made countless memories with all the foster kids that have come through his home. Since the start of this journey, He has provided 11 children with a roof over their heads and has filled their lives with kindness and love. And the whole time he has had Anthony by his side to help him out.
As time went by, Peter learned a lot about his pre-teen son. For one, Tony has a soft spot for animals. This affinity is something that he has carried with him since his childhood, living on a farm. It’s this quality in him that Peter believes has made him into such a kind and nurturing young man.
“It’s amazing how animals provide that sensory and therapeutic feeling to my little man,” Peter captioned this photo of Tony. The family of two has not only temporarily cared for dogs in the past, but they are also now in the process of adopting a doddle puppy of their own. Looks like their family is still growing!
If The Shoe Fits…
“It seems new shoes and clothes are a weekly need, if these growth spurts continue, I may need to get a third job,” Peter joked on his Instagram, as he shared this photo of him and Tony going shoe shopping. It sounds like becoming a dad to a teenage boy is full of its own challenges.
Regardless of the hard work that It takes to raise Tony as well as all the other foster kids that continue to enter Peter’s life, the joy and fulfillment that he receives from putting a roof over their heads and shoes on their feet make it all worth it. Or as Peter put it, “It’s been worth each greyed hair and sleepless night.”
Looks like cooking is not the only thing that Peter is learning throughout fatherhood. He also had Anthony teach him the ropes when it comes to video games. As Peter wisely put it, “I have a lot to teach Anthony, but I’ve always got a lot to learn!”
We are sure any parent can relate to this. Often times the roles get reversed and although it is the parent’s job to teach their kids the important lessons in life, parenthood is also full of life lessons for the adult. And we are not just talking about video games.
Looking Back at Day One
When Anthony first came into Peter’s life back in January 2018, they had no idea just how far their story together would take them. Back then, Peter had only been fostering children for seven months and he was still fairly new to the foster parent life that he bravely took on.
When Tony arrived he must have been quite lost and confused. Being left at the hospital by his then adopted parents could not have been easy. Despite these scars, however, this resilient little boy was ready and willing to open his heart to Peter and now, more than two years later, their bond is stronger than ever.
Single Dad Life
Now that Anthony has entered his teenage years, Peter is running into a whole new list of challenges as his father. “I’m convinced that teenagers are from a different planet! Hormone fluctuations and mood swings are likened to Oklahoma winds or Colorado snow days… completely unpredictable on any given day,” Peter passionately wrote on his Instagram.
Despite this, however, the good times and the love and trust that he feels from Tony makes it all worth it. “I just can’t imagine life without him,” he wrote in the same post. “I hear this whole teenage phase will pass and I pray, “Lord give me a little more patience each day.”